NEW YORK – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are teaming up with law enforcement partners and security and industry experts in New York to strengthen global partnerships against intellectual property (IP) crime.
Through a review of operational case studies, best practices and industry perspectives, the 11th annual International Law Enforcement IP Crime Conference also aims to shape effective enforcement strategies.
The two-day event beginning Aug. 28 is co-hosted by INTERPOL, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), in partnership with UL (Underwriters Laboratories) and the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC).
“We are attacking transnational criminal organizations at all points in the global supply chain by working with our international partners to identify foreign manufacturers engaged in piracy and dismantle their production capabilities,” he said.
Nearly 600 participants from more than 60 countries will focus on evolving crime trends in areas such as illicit trafficking on the Internet, as well as on protecting the public from potentially harmful products.
In this respect, more than 420 tons of illicit pharmaceutical and medical products worth approximately $21.8 million in U.S. currency were recently seized during Operation Heera in West Africa. INTERPOL coordinated the operation which saw law enforcement forces collaborate with multi-agency stakeholders in the region.
“Combining our efforts on a global scale by involving all stakeholders from the public and the private sectors is the only way to get ahead of the ever-advancing criminals who make significant profits distributing products that are potentially harmful to public health,” said INTERPOL's Executive Director of Police Services Tim Morris.
“With illicit markets expanding globally, INTERPOL’s role is fundamental in facilitating international efforts aimed at dismantling the transnational organized crime groups involved in illicit trafficking,” added Mr. Morris.
INTERPOL’s Illicit Goods and Global Health program encompasses all industry sectors and products affected by this serious organized crime area. It works with stakeholders to address a range of IP crimes which include illicit medicines, electronics, food and drink.
IACC President Bob Barchiesi said: “Counterfeiters do not operate within the confines of country borders and neither should we. The IACC believes that real, practical, effective and impactful solutions can only be produced through international cooperation by all parties.”
“Transnational IP crime groups continue to produce dangerous products at an alarming rate and on an industrialized scale, adapting quickly to changing circumstances,” said Keith Williams, UL President and CEO.
“The IP Crime Conference is a perfect example of one of the many tools that have been developed to stem the flow of illegal counterfeit products. This year’s conference will drive discussion about technologies and other solutions that diminish product counterfeiting,” added Mr. Williams.
The HSI-led IPR Center stands at the forefront of the U.S. government's response to global intellectual property theft and enforcement of its international trade laws. The mission of the IPR Center is to ensure national security by protecting the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy, and U.S. war fighters, and to stop predatory and unfair trade practices that threaten the global economy.
To accomplish this goal, the IPR Center brings together 23 partner agencies, consisting of 19 key federal agencies, INTERPOL, Europol and the governments of Canada and Mexico in a task-force setting. The task force structure enables the IPR Center to effectively leverage the resources, skills, and authorities of each partner and provide a comprehensive response to IP theft. The IPR Center is led by an ICE-HSI Director with Deputy Directors from HSI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).